‘Shed this unlucky tag’ orders Stags boss Cox

Mansfield Town manager Paul Cox -Pic by: Richard Parkes

Mansfield Town manager Paul Cox -Pic by: Richard Parkes

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Mansfield Town boss Paul Cox has challenged his side to quickly shed their ‘unlucky’ tag and start winning football matches, starting with tomorrow’s visit of Oxford United.

Stags have run Northampton and Sheffield United close in their opening two away games this week and, despite losing both, have received plenty of plaudits.

But Cox said: “I have spoken to other managers this week and the word on the street is that we have been unlucky. I am not buying into being unlucky. The game is all about winning. We need to get rid of this unlucky tag quickly.

“Two of the three goals we’ve conceded have been from set pieces. That’s nothing to do with tactics, it’s just about players wanting to defend properly. We look to have a decent amount going forward so if we can cut out conceding from set pieces we could have a half-decent season.”

Two key players set to return could change that with defender Luke Jones back in the squad and suspended striker Matt Rhead available again for Tuesday’s visit of Newport.

Cox said: “Luke scored us seven or eight goals from about 20 appearances as a centre half last time he was here. He is excellent in both boxes and will head anything.

“Everyone at the club knows what Rheady is about. In both boxes he is one of the best around.”

Cox is waiting on the fitness of several players ahead of tomorrow’s game after an injury-riddled first week that left him with only 14 fit outfield players and two keepers on Thursday morning.

“I won’t sit here worrying about it,” he said. “You get on with it. It is an awfully long season which I mean in a positive way. But the sooner we get a full complement of players back the better.

“Loans are always an option and I will have to have a chat with the chairman to see if there is any money available. The next 24 hours will tell me where we are.”

He added: “I feel the club is now in the next phase of progression. We’ve made a number of changes in the summer and the infrastructure is starting to improve. We need to push on in a realistic manner.

“How quickly the new players and young lads evolve and understand League Two will determine how we finish this season.

“We have played two teams away who are promotion candidates in their divisions. So it is a massive positive to now have two home games. The most important thing is to get bodies back on the pitch. Hopefully we can turn some half-decent performances into points on the board.”